Romans 5:1-5 Blessed Be the Holy Trinity! Trinity Sunday, May 22, 2016
By Pastor Kenneth Mellon, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend, WI
Grace and peace are yours from your loving Father, won His Son, and brought by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God’s Word of peace is from Romans 5:1-5
These are Your words heavenly Father, to give us confidence in Your grace and love in Christ to save us.
Dear Christians by faith in our Triune God,
Today we are celebrating Trinity Sunday. We call special attention to the truth that our one God is at the same time three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are so used to beginning and ending the service in the name of the Trinity, that we don’t think much about it. Yet we Christians who believe in the Trinity are unique in the world. Many people think there is some kind of god. But, no other religion outside of Christianity accepts the truth that our one God is triune. We confessed a few moments ago that no person can be a Christian if he or she rejects the truth of the Trinity. The question we will answer today is this: What difference does it make to have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as our God? Our theme:
Blessed Be the Holy Trinity!
First, the Father justifies! God the Father gave all people life, so He has every right to demand that they live according to His perfect will. They are to keep His laws without breaking even one. They are to love as He loves. They are to show patience, kindness, and forgiveness to all people at all times and in all circumstances. This is God the Father’s Law of love and if we don’t keep it, He will condemn us. Yet, verse one lists the word “justified.” It is the opposite of condemning. It means to declare someone innocent.
Does the Bible anywhere say that we can be justified by our goodness or by keeping the law? No! Paul wrote the Galatians, “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Galatians 5:4) Jesus told the story of the highly respected Pharisee. He stood in front of all and prayed how faithful he was: he worshiped, prayed and fasted more than most others. But Jesus said that he did not return home justified by God. (Luke 18:11-14) People can keep their own rules to get praise from others, but no one comes close to keeping God’s Law. When people try to be justified by the law, they are judged by the law and the result is that God condemns them.
Paul uses the word peace which we are to have with God. Can we establish peace with God? No! We cannot even find peace in the world, let alone with a holy God! The way to peace in this world is to have such power over others that they will dare not harm us. Peace in the world comes from an absence of enemies or worries. But, later in Romans 5 it states that by nature we are enemies to God the Father. The Bible concludes, “There is no peace” says my God, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22)
Yet, Paul clearly states that we do have peace with God. Second, peace comes through God’s Son! Our verse states, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.1) Only Jesus could establish peace between God and us. He changed our status from being enemies of God the Father, to being His loved children. God’s Son did this by becoming one of us. He removed our sin and guilt by dying in our place taking God’s anger and punishment on Himself. Paul wrote, “He reconciled to himself all things … by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20) God’s anger is turned away from us. All that that left after Christ’s work is done is God’s gracious favor! God accepted His Son’s perfect work and raised Jesus from death. Now, when we believe that Christ has saved us from God’s punishment, we are justified. Paul wrote, “The man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)
When we realize that, as sinful as we are, we turn from our sins and seek Jesus’ forgiveness by faith the result is peace with God. When we trust in Jesus His peace dismisses our fear, our hatred, our times when we lack trusting in God, and all the times when we are disappointed because we don’t understand God’s ways. We have God-given peace when we trust in Jesus. Paul wrote, “In Him we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” (v.2) If we wanted to see a famous person but the show was sold out; we would be disappointed and blame ourselves for not buying a ticket sooner. If somehow that famous person heard about our disappointment and out of kindness gave us tickets, we would be thrilled. If after the show we were invited to meet the person, we would think it was the best day in our lives! How much more we should be thrilled to know that through the gift of forgiveness by Jesus as our Savior, we have total access to God as our loving heavenly Father. He doesn’t just offer us a front row seat in a theater; we have entrance into heaven itself for eternity! Paul wrote, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God….” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Father’s gift of grace was won by His Son, but third, it becomes ours by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave us saving faith through the message of Jesus. When we were baptized He was present to work faith in us by the power of the Gospel so that in Christ we would be saved. He continues to strengthen our faith through His Word. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would have no faith, no peace from being justified by the Father, and no access to His grace from the Son. Even if we believed our entire lives, if the Holy Spirit left us, we could not continue to have faith in Christ for a second. We would be overwhelmed by our sin, by the devil, by temptations, and death!
But we are not alone even in the most difficult times. Paul wrote, “We rejoice (boast) in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (v. 3-5) When we are troubled with sickness, sadness, or persecution for our faith, we trust in the Lord and pray with confidence given by the Holy Spirit that God will take the worst situations and turn them to blessings and positive outcomes. God is not leaving us during times when we are affected by evil. He will accomplish His good purpose to bring us to glory!
It is during such times that the Holy Spirit is working a greater endurance in us. He is giving us a godly character which is genuine, tested, and still standing! The Bible states, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinth. 10:13) The Gospel states, “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:8) Keep listening to God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is “working in us to will and to do His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
On this Trinity Sunday, we thank God the Father for declaring us innocent through the saving work of His Son. We thank Jesus for showing the Father’s love for us by giving His own life to take away our sins and replacing them with His perfect life. We thank God, the Holy Spirit, who gives us saving faith in Jesus and with it an eternal hope and peace that will be with us throughout our lives. In Christ we are confident of an eternal future in heaven. Blessed be the holy Trinity! To God alone be the glory! Amen.